Angel investor Gary Dewhurst has injected £100,000 into a North East company to fund the development of an innovative mobile app that is set to transform the teacher recruitment process.
The serial entrepreneur opted to invest in Sunderland-based Premier Teachers after recognising that the app could cut recruitment costs while expanding the talent pool – increasing a school’s chances of hiring the ideal candidate.
It also allows candidates to maximise their job search by applying for multiple posts quickly via mobile phone or tablet using just one tailored submission form. It also provides schools and local education authorities with a searchable database of applicants exactly matching their criteria.
The specialist education recruitment agency was founded by experienced teacher Mike Donnelly in 2013 and supplies teachers and support staff to schools throughout Teesside, County Durham, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.
However, it was his experience working in the sector, supported by research by Sunderland University, that led him to put a team together to begin work on the mobile app.
Mike, who is originally from South Tyneside, added: “This £100,000 investment was absolutely critical as we had taken the product as far as we could and were unable to access the necessary funds to make it a viable product.
“It is a simple and scalable tech solution to address a nationwide shortage of teachers in a profession that has missed government recruitment targets for secondary school teacher trainees for the seventh year in a row.”
Currently candidates face spending two to three hours filling in application forms for each individual teaching position – prompting many to limit how many they apply for.
The app is due to undergo testing next month and is scheduled to be launched later this summer.
Gary said: “I’m excited to be investing in Premier Teachers and its app as it offers a simple solution to ease the chronic shortage of teachers.
“I have three children in education and have seen first-hand the challenges that both teachers and schools face in recruiting the right people. I value education highly and that is my main motivation behind this investment.”
He recently left his role as part-time CEO of gap Personnel Group after selling his remaining shares in the Wrexham-headquartered company, having sold a 75% stake in 2017 to Japanese-listed recruiter BeNEXT – allowing him to devote more time to his investment portfolio of 10 companies.
The £100,000 investment in Premier Teachers was fast-tracked via the government’s HMRC approved Enterprise Investment Scheme.
In addition, he is also able to provide the company with full back office capability, supplier savings and non-executive management support to help grow the business.